In our last post we began with a fundamental observation that we are all made to be creative while our differing gifts provide us individuality. In this article we’ll begin to identify what these gifts are and how we should be using them.
As you think though your unique gifting, know that the foundation of creativity is that it stands either in opposition to, or refinement of, the status quo. In its base form, it is actually a type of problem-solving—a way to present a new perspective.
I believe we can illustrate this principle by returning to the creation account where the Creator Himself encountered a series of challenges that required His imagination to conceive and ultimately create something which did not exist previously, albeit on a divine scale.
- Challenge #1: matter, light, and time did not exist. Solution: God formed a water-covered earth, made the first rays of light, and defined day and night.
- Challenge #2: The earth had no atmosphere. Solution: He separated the sky from the water to create breathable oxygen, etc.
- Challenge #3: The earth was covered with water. Solution: He separated the water from the land and made plant life.
Across six days God continuously solved a series of problems by creating—introducing a change to the status quo through further refinement, ultimately providing a universe fit, not just for life to exist, but for mankind to explore and enjoy. For us, creativity is merely picking up where He left off and adding our own color splash, limited only by resources and imagination.
You have likely heard this decision-making concept referred to elsewhere as simply hearing your inner voice. A quick online search for “creativity + inner voice” yields numerous results! Here are just a few:
- Numerous Pinterest images revealing thoughts on the inner voice
- 5 Tips For Uncovering Your Unique Creative Voice
- Website entitled: Writers Inner Voices
- GoodReads.com collection of quotes on the inner voice
- “Inner voices: How your internal dialogue helps you make sense of the world”
If there was something you could to tell the world…
A good friend of mine enjoys photographing birds. While his pursuit is merely on a hobbyist’s level, when we talk about the avifauna captured by his lens he lights up, taking care to point out their beautiful features. His animation clearly tells where his passion rests, and while he has never said it specifically, I can read that he desires for the world to stop and observe the intricacies of these colorful creatures fluttering about us.
… what would it be?
Ways we solve creative challenges:
1. Artistic Expression = becoming a voice for the abstract
The stronger the artist, the more he or she is able to connect the abstract to the tangible, presenting physical representations of emotion, perspective, beauty, good, etc., providing a window for which others can connect with their inner being. This concept really is not esoteric, I promise! Most, if not all, of us have a song, a poem, a movie, or even a portrait that stands out to us in a meaningful way. Why? It causes us to think; it connects to us on the inside.
Think of the songs on your playlist and I believe you will agree with what I’m about to say. Artists write songs that deal with matters of the heart and life, yet each one attempts to explain or teach a very intricate and often personal concept. The theme is typically packaged in a catchy and often repeated lyric by which the writers (and/or performers) are voicing internally sourced abstract concepts (love, joy, freedom, etc.) that they believe the world needs to hear.
In a painted portrait, photography, or film, many look for what I call the story within the frame, if you will. Is there a point of interest, a sense of beauty, an emotional response, or even a story unfolding? If so, then the artist had to overcome a creative challenge to communicate to the audience.
Artists have the innate ability to conjure an inner feeling or thought through their work, providing a voice to the abstract.
2. Innovation = imagineering a physical answer to a perceived need
Creativity for innovators presents itself with the ability to develop concrete solutions to physical forms of challenges. This still requires imagination, but it also calls for some type of engineering, design, or planning, so I am glad to credit Walt Disney’s “imagineering” for melting these thoughts together!
In this method, an architect seeks to solve a measurable problem (i.e., need for a place for people to work, to be taught, to eat, etc.) that ends up being a physical structure reflecting its creator’s inner voice/vision (intangible) to meet the needs for which it was designed (tangible). The same could be said for just about any device or product being introduced today. Creators are fed with a necessity and are fueled to mother the invention.
Which is better?
Is one form of creating better than the other? No way! Both are necessary for mankind to both express ourselves and to make progress in discovery and utilization of our natural resources.
Questions to Consider:
- What do I want the world to hear, see, know, or experience from my unique perspective?
Don’t let your inner voice catch laryngitis! Take some time to think through what you feel the world can learn from you.
- Do I align more as being an artist or an innovator, or both?
Do I connect more with the abstract/emotional, or do a function better with taking assembling, building, and managing physical problem solving?
- How can I use my creativity to make a difference in my world?
Again, not everything in the creative process is earth-shattering, but through communicating your desire and drive others will want to follow along on the journey.
In our next post we’ll consider the coexistence of expression and order in creativity.